The 2021 U20 Six Nations Championships have been postponed and will not take place in the Six Nations window of February and March this year.
In a statement released by Six Nations Rugby Limited (SNRL) it was confirmed that both the U20 competition and the Women’s competition will not be taking place at the usual times, though they sounded their intention that the Men’s Championship will be able to go ahead as usual.
In their statement, Six Nations Rugby Limited said “it will finalise the respective timings and formats for both the Women’s and U20s competitions in consultation with all Unions, broadcast partners, and stakeholders, with full details to be announced by the end of January” a clear window for the U20s is not yet forthcoming but SNRL did say of the Women’s Championship that it will be in “revised windows later this spring or early summer”, the U20s of course have a limiting factor of the World Rugby U20 Championships in Italy over early summer (assuming they go ahead) to factor in.
Ben Morel, CEO of Six Nations Rugby Limited, said: “We are fiercely committed to the promotion and development of rugby at all levels, particularly the women’s game where we see such exciting opportunity for growth. This is not a decision that we rushed into and we are confident that in looking at a new later window we will be in a far stronger position to deliver two fantastic tournaments, delivering exciting rugby for fans, and ensuring the safest possible environment in which to stage them for our players.”
At U20 level no side has played since last year’s tournament, which saw three of the final games cancelled, a story that is true across the age-groups with the U18 Six Nations Festival also lost to Covid last year, along with U19 internationals and the U18 tour of South Africa over the summer that England and Wales were due to take part in.
While the news of the postponement of the 2021 Championships will come as no great surprise to the majority it nevertheless is yet another bitter pill to swallow in an increasingly frustrating 2020/21 season, particularly within the junior and age-grade ranks. The bright spot on the horizon is that the statement is one very much of postponement, not cancellation.